Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 11.25.54 AMWhat does “grace” mean to you? For a lot of us, grace is what we call the prayer before meals. Our mothers or fathers would ask, “Who wants to say grace?” as we gathered around the dinner table, and we’d pray or sing “God is great; God is good; Let us thank Him for our food.”

Still others associate grace with the dictionary definition, “a simple elegance or refinement of movement,” so, when we see a ballet dancer, a princess, or even an athlete on the playing field, and exclaim, “look, how graceful…”

Growing up in church, we hear the word grace a lot and most of us could answer pretty confidently when asked about it: “It is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense,” meaning that grace is the unearned and unmerited favor from God through Jesus’ substitutionary death and resurrection on our behalf. We didn’t do anything to earn it or own it, but He gives us grace every day because He loves us.

All of us probably have some form of that definition inked permanently in our minds. But how are you living it?

Another definition for grace could be “receiving something you don’t deserve.” That’s what Christ gives us, but is that how you are reflecting Him to others? Are you actively pursuing the people in your life with love, service and humility that transcends your own needs, comforts or desires?

Believe it or not, this is not a blog post about being a better Christian. It is not meant to convict, demean or even challenge you to “be more like Jesus.” Of course that is a worthy and beautiful goal, but this post is specifically about the importance of grace in leadership.

Chick-fil-A CEO, Dan Cathy, once wrote about grace on his blog. He wrote, “If I ever write a book on leadership, it will begin with a chapter on grace and forgiveness. Without grace, it is impossible to love. And leadership without love is not leading at all.

“True leadership means investing in the lives of others. That’s how we grow. And that’s how we learn to meet people where they are – to help get them where they need to be. Sometimes it brings pain, sadness and disappointment… but that is what we have been called to do, and that is precisely where grace comes in… the funny thing about grace is the more we give, the more we realize just how much has been given to us.”

As a leader – in your home, school, community and future vocation – you will be challenged each and every day to show grace, which is precisely why you need grace so desperately in your life.

Today is a new day. His mercies are new… and so is His immeasurable grace. How are you going to show it to others today?